Friday, October 27, 2017

Sammy's Memory Pillow

My son has some pretty awesome friends. They are good kids. Kind, smart, funny. And, their moms are some of my best friends. So when they hurt, we hurt. 

Late this summer, one of our friends said goodbye to their four-footed family member, Sammy. Watching Kara wrestle with that worst final decision brought up memories of when we lost our Bailey. Sammy and Bailey were with us from our pre-marriage, pre-parenthood days. For Kara's son and mine, our dogs were their first friends. 

When a little boy loses his favorite cuddle pillow, I knew he needed something new and soft to hold. Let me show you how I made Sammy pillow.

First, I stalked Kara's Facebook for a picture of Sammy and his boy. The photo I chose is the last picture of them together.

I used my new Epson WorkForce WF-7610 printer, which I bought for projects just like this. It prints up to 13" x 19"! I squared up the photo and printed it 12.5 x 12.5" on fabric. I forgot to take a photo of how I prepped the fabric. I cut 12.5" square pieces of both white Kona fabric and freezer paper.  I ironed the freezer paper over the Kona fabric. The freezer paper gives the fabric stability so that it can go through the inkjet printer. 

For the rest of the pillow. I used soft minky ("Soft like Sammy," declared the boy) and a blue print to pull the blue of the minky with the blue in the photo.

I sewed 12" x 2.5" to opposite sides. 

Then I sewed two 16.5" x 2.5" strips to the remaining sides.

Once all four sides are pressed open, I had a 16.5" pillow front. 

I pinned the pillow top right sides together with a piece of minky slightly bigger than the top. Minky has a tendency to shift so I find it's easier to trim excess than stress about an edge being short.

Next, I sewed a 1/4" seam around the edge of the pillow top, leaving a 2" hole from turning the pillow right side out. 

Use a ruler to trim off the excess minky as well as the corners to avoid bulk.

Minky makes a big mess so at this point I pull out my favorite lint roller to clean up a bit. 

Next I used a chopstick to turn the pillowcase inside out and get nice points in the corners.

At this point, I could have used a pillow form, but I'm trying to use up some scraps. Before I got to my scraps, I stuffed the corners with some polyfil. I find it hold the shape of the corners a little better. 

Next, I recruited my son to help so he could be part of making his friend's gift. He started stuffing the pillow with scraps, then Niels took over, then I finished.

Finally, I practiced my blind stitch to close the hole. 

We always put lots of love in our handmade gifts.

And ready to deliver!

And since this post has made me miss my fur-baby, I'll share this photo, which was taken on Bailey's last day. (Gah! Look at my baby boy!)

And here's a little something I wrote the morning after we said goodbye to Bailey.

Early Morning Thoughts on the First Day After 

Walking back to our car was first worst thing. 
No tugging on your leash 
No jumping to the seat 
My lap was so empty with only your collar. 
On the long, short ride home, the rain mimicked our quiet tears. 
Pulling into the driveway, I couldn’t help but look through the window 
To make sure you weren’t perched on the couch 
I swore we heard your "woof woof woof"
And the jingle of your collar when we stepped inside 
You’re nowhere 
And everywhere. 
Your leash hangs silently on its hook 
Your dish disheveled on the floor 
Your food, untouched. 
The indentation of your withered body 
Still caves your favorite spot on the sofa 
Your favorite toy lays lonely on the floor 
Your last treat remains, half enjoyed. 
It was time, sweet girl. 
But not enough time. 
At nighttime, you were part of our routine 
One last trip outside 
One last lap of water 
Last night’s lasts were the last lasts. 
You didn’t bound up the steps 
Brushing my leg in your rush to our room. 
How can our crowded bed suddenly feel so big? 
How can our thick comforter lack any warmth? 
You didn’t lick your daddy's ears. 
You didn’t cuddle into my side. 
How can I possibly sleep? 
I woke up early and often 
And you weren’t there to coax me back to slumber. 
Your daddy slumbers 
Because you weren’t there to wake him with a nuzzle 
And request to go outside. 
I sit here still feeling the tremor of your last days 
And thanking God for all of our good days. 
I peek in on our young son 
And wonder how we’ll make him understand 
That our vet couldn’t “fix it.” 
Couldn’t heal you. 
How will I answer when he looks for you? 
No more shared meals with a toddler. 
I’ll have to start sweeping the floor. 
You were my helpful shadow, 
And the reflection of my life doesn’t look right now. 
Who will tell me when the mail is here? 
Or the garbage is being picked up? 
That company has come? 
Or that Daddy is home? 
I have no wild barking to calm. 
No tummy to rub. 
No four-footed observer in my kitchen. 
We have an empty space under —an empty chair at—our dinner table. 
Our laps will remain empty 
Our hands won’t know what to do. 
No more 8 o’clock bursts of energy. 
White flashes around the room. 
No more smiles of pure joy. 
No more paws upon our hands. 
No more thump-thump as you jump to the floor. 
In the coming days, 
We’ll remember what we forgot. 
All the sounds you made as the symphony of our home. 
Your stage is silent. 
How can one who cannot speak say so much? 
You’ve been so much more than a dog. 
You were my heart on training wheels. 
And you taught me how to love. 
I'm so sad that your work was done. 
You’ve been a mile marker in my life. 
You’ve been with me from single to married to mommy. 
You’re part of all my important moments. 
I don’t know why I thought if I lost you now, 
It would be easier somehow. 
What is ever easy about a final goodbye? 
I miss you, sweet girl. 
Thank you for being part of my life. 
Thank you for a good life. 
Thank you. 

In memory of Bailey Grace with a Silly Face April 14, 2001 – March 5, 2011

Linked to:
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Fiber Tuesday @ Quilting Room with Mel
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social #201 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers #96 @ Quilt Fabrication
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
MOP Monday @ Tweety Loves Quilting
Moving It Forward @ Em's Scrap Bag
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
TGIFF @ Anja Quilts
To Do Tuesday @ Stitch All the Things
Wednesday Wait Loss #39 @ The Inquiring Quilter
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
WIPs Wednesday @ Silly Mama Quilts

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  1. What a lovely gift, I'm sure it will be treasured.


  2. This is really neat - that photo is just precious to start with, and then having your son help make the pillow was the nicest touch.

  3. What a thoughtful gift for your friend's son. Even better that the whole family worked on it! Goodbye, sweet Sammy.

  4. Losing our beloved furry family is so hard. What an absolutely precious and thoughtful gift to give to your friend's son. Thank you for sharing your process too. I have yet to sew with Minky, and your tips will be very helpful when I get around to sewing with it... I am sure I will have to, eventually!

  5. More great ways to honor memories - you are on a roll!


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